Amazon opens its doors in India

Interesting news today from Amazon: KDP authors can now reach the world’s largest English-speaking democracy. Amazon announced that, in partnership with Croma retail stores to sell the Kindle, Amazon’s digital bookstores have thrown their doors open to the 1,000,000 books available for the Kindle e-reader at

“We are proud to launch this new Kindle store for Indian customers — offering Kindle book purchases in rupees and the ability to buy and read the work of many great Indian authors,” said Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle Content, “In addition, we are excited to work with Croma to make Kindle available at retail outlets across India.”

Reporting & Pricing
From my perspective, one of the more interesting things is that the reporting functionality is part of the (i.e., U.S.) store.; your reporting will be included in your numbers (which may lead to confusing statistics if KDP doesn’t indicate/break out India sales in some way).

As for pricing, KDP authors can–and probably should–set the price independently from their U.S. prices, for reasons Akshat Singhal, an Indian author and book marketer (visit him at commenting on Kindleboards, gives:

“The eCommerce market in India has just taken off and is poised to grow at a massive rate and Amazon has been trying to penetrate into the market. Books offer a way to enter this market since online book retailers in India are making massive money.

Now why does India needs a special mention? Its because books are very cheap in India. For example, the price of a paperback is same as what an eBook will cost in US! You will get paperbacks for as low as $2 and it will be brand new edition!”

The Impact
A second, more macro-level–and ultimately more interesting–issue, is that this opens the U.S. Kindle market in both directions. I will admit to not knowing the ins and outs of international Kindle publishing, but assume it was not impossible for an India author to get published on .com before today’s announcement.

But with no outlet in India (in hardware or in its own India Amazon e-book market), the rewards might’ve seemed distant. With a domestic market and an open pipeline to the U.S. market, however, it seems likely that more Indian authors will attempt to make a name for themselves in the U.S. e-book landscape.

Which is a great thing! I welcome the global literary explosion. But if you thought it was tough finding that “one good book” amongst the 1 million already on, what’s going to happen when a country of 1.2 billion people (of which only a small subset are aspiring authors, but still could number in the millions) hit the market? Conversely, what happens when your book hits an English-speaking market with a literate population that’s been estimated at between 650 – 900 million?

The potential scales of success and reach for writers have just increased exponentially.

Read the Amazon press release here

Read an interesting conversation on Kindelboards about the India release here


Writer of crime fiction, psychological drama, and dark humor.

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Posted in Epublishing News
16 comments on “Amazon opens its doors in India
  1. yoga-adan says:

    good thread on kindleboards, thanks matt

    maybe this will also bring the whole piracy thing more to the fore too

    best wishes

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Let’s hope so. Julie (“Red Adept”) has a point also about low-balling all of your titles just so you reach the India market.

      If your book’s in English, but is selling for 30% of the price simply to take advantage of the discrepancies in the respective economies, consumers are not going to take that very well. If it’s truly a global economy, than some interesting things are going to happen with the pricing of transferable and digital goods…

  2. daspruzen says:

    That’s a huge market of English speakers!

    Sent from my iPhone Dorothy

    • Matthew Iden says:

      It is, Dorothy. That’s why I’m looking at this news with equal parts trepidation and excitement! Like they say in the markets in Viet Nam, it’s “Same same. But different.” In other words, same kind of market on the output side, same great pool of authors on the input side…but x100.

      Also, a little tidbit from writer Richard Hardie over in the Crime Fiction group on LinkedIn regarding the news:

      “A great friend of mine is an author in India, as well as being a Professor of English and European Languages and he says the biggest obstacle to selling on Amazon in the sub-continent is the relatively small number of credit cards in use.

      Selling the Kindle through Croma (providing the price is set realistically) is a great step forward, however people in India have had access to the Kindle app for PC, iPad and iPhone for a long time.”

  3. Matthew Iden says:

    I thought for sure someone would’ve commented on my clever intro graphic by now!

  4. Matt, have you decided what you’re setting your India prices at?

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Hi Stan – I left everything except A Reason to Live as is, since they majority are in the $.99 – $2.99 range, which I hope is close enough to $2.00 to tempt an Indian Market.

      I reduced ARTL in India only to $2.99 to come close to that $2.00 threshold. Hopefully, my other English-speaking markets (ha!) will understand the discrepancy.

      • Gotcha. I’ve already set mine at .99 for just India, and I’m wondering how you think your other English markets would find out? And I guess I’m not sure why they’d be upset. What am I missing before I end up with egg on my face? : )

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Oh, I don’t think you have to worry over much, especially early on.

      The long term disgruntlement I see coming is this: U.S. KDP authors will always have an English language market in India, which means we’ll be posting the same book we’re selling here and in the UK and in Australia for 30% of the price (or whatever) in India. Same content, same provider (Amazon). Since we’re talking a digital product, with no overhead associated with it, other English-language markets would, fairly I think, ask why they’re paying 2-3x more than Indian consumers.

      I don’t see it being a huge worry for indies because we’re hovering in the $.99-$4.99 range anyway…not too much different than that $2.00 threshold I heard might be the norm for Indian paperbacks.

      But when NYT best-sellers who are selling their ebooks for $12.99 in the U.S. try to do that in India, I imagine sales will be non-existent. In order to adapt, they’ll lower the price to get market penetration…and everyone in the U.S./UK/Australia who paid $12.99 will be pissed.

      Consumers pissed at Traditional Publishers because of price gouging, while I make a killing in India? Okay, bring it on!

      p.s. to answer your first question: I think they’ll find out b/c nothing keeps you from going to other country Amazon pages and comparing prices. Someone will spend the time to put U.S./UK/India prices side by side at some point to complain about any discrepancies that might arise.

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Thanks, Stan! I appreciate that. Trying to keep your head in this industry can be tough…one reason I like Dave Gaughran’s blog. DG’s site is a nice place to center yourself in the industry and, if I can provide a little of that, I’m happy.

      Re: book. This past Tuesday marked two weeks since the end of my KDP “free” sale and I hit 500 sales during that time. Since then, it’s really started to spiral down (I fell off the Top 100 list in hard boiled, which I think is key)…I’m getting about a sale every 2-3 hours. I’m hoping some advertising and release of Blueblood will pick things back up. Maybe a price drop back to $4.99 or even 3.99 will help.

      Lest you think that 500 sales were typical, they’re not…in fact, about 250x previous numbers, if you get my drift, lol.

  5. Matthew Iden says:

    All – David Gaughran’s post today is about the India Kindle store and has some interesting observations about the odd choice of launch (putting the India store inside the U.S. store) and a few other things. Check it out at

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